9 quick ways to check the quality of clothing
It’s the age old advice you’ve heard from your parents, grandparents and authority figures abound - ‘invest in quality and you won't be disappointed’. But what actually denotes quality clothing? Given the task would you be able to separate the high-quality from the cheap and tacky?
If not, don’t worry, below are some simple tips to help ensure you’re buying high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time.
1. Look to the light
There is a common misconception that the heavier the fabric, the higher the quality of the garment, however, this is not always true. In fact, it’s not necessarily the weight but the density of the garment that should be tested to determine its quality. Hold your garment up to the light, if the fabric is densely woven and high quality, it shouldn’t let too much light through, if it’s cheap and loosely woven, it will let through a lot of light.
2. Conduct a stretch test
Test garments that are supposed to be stretchy or have a little give in them by lightly stretching a section of the garment to see if it bounces back to its original form. Fabric that doesn’t return to its original form will likely lose its shape after a few wears.
3. Consider fabric appropriateness
Even the most luxurious fabric isn’t going to last if it’s not suitable for the purpose of your garment. For example, if you are working in an outdoor setting where garment durability is key going for a delicate silk item isn’t going to work well, instead you should opt for something with a high polyester content.
4. Check seams
No one wants to buy a pair of pants only for them to tear at the seams after a few wears.. therefore it’s important to inspect the seams. The main seams should be straight, neat and have no loose threads. Sections that have been sewn over multiple times or have visible needle holes could also be an indicator of poor quality. Check the strength of the seam by lightly pulling the fabric on either side, if it separates, it was poorly manufactured.
5. Assess quality of trims
Buttons and buttonholes should be reinforced with lots of thick thread and there should be no raw fabric edges visible in button holes. Similarly, high quality garments should include a spare button, indicating that the garment will last for a long time with a few small repairs. Zippers should lie flat and shouldn’t pucker. They should also lock at the top and not slowly slide down. Finally, woven labels denote better quality than printed ones and should also be sewn in a place that won’t irritate the wearer.
6. Look for tailoring
Fitted garments that don’t contain stretch in the fabric require tailoring. Check for the presence of darts, princess seams, back seams, etc. as they will indicate that the garment has been made to fit the human form.
7. Is it lined?
Lining is not appropriate or necessary for every garment, however, extremely transparent items, extra delicate fabrics, jackets, coats, and structured dresses and skirts can benefit from lining. Lining can increase the quality of a garment as it hides the inside construction, making it look neater. It also allows you to slip into and move in the garment more easily, which prevents the garment from stretching or misshaping.
8. Find brands you trust
While you mustn't assume that every product you buy from one brand will be of the same quality, previous experiences can serve as an indication of the overall standards of that brand.
9. Consider cost
Just because a garment or brand is expensive doesn’t mean it’s high quality. That said, garments that are high quality do often carry a higher price point due to the extra time and labour that has been invested in the manufacturing process - you are not going to get them at bargain basement prices (unless you are an amazing charity shop hunter).
Use the above steps to assess the quality of your garments, and ensure that the price tag reflects the workmanship you’re paying for.